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Special Reports

A time to refresh and refuel in the city of Jerusalem!

When ICEJ AID assistant Jannie Tolhoek entered a Jerusalem hotel lobby on a recent summer day, she was greeted by many smiling faces. These beautiful faces belonged to the dedicated and hard-working social workers from the Sderot region in southern Israel.

When the Christian Embassy learned about the intense burden these social workers were carrying during and even after the Gaza rocket war in May this year, without hesitation we immediately put plans into motion to ensure they could enjoy a brief respite to help them recharge in the always fascinating city of Jerusalem. The ICEJ treated the social workers to several nights in the stylish new Orient Hotel, which boasts a lovely rooftop veranda overlooking the Old City.

Yigal Levi, deputy director of Social Welfare in Sderot, explained that while they were under constant missile attack from Gaza, each one of these social workers left their own families – both during the day and at nighttime – to go from house-to-house checking on other families in their community. With under 30 seconds to seek shelter when the red-alert siren sounds, many families in this region spent most of their days and nights in a shelter, as the terrifying sounds of explosions surrounded them.

“These social workers assisted a family where a child was killed while the traumatized family hunkered in their shelter. Their home took a hit from a rocket and shrapnel killed the child,” said Yigal.

Israeli social worker Naomi Zolberg has lived with her family in Sderot for 20 years and finds it very difficult to leave her three children at night to go out to help others. “They are also scared. It’s not easy” says Naomi.

During the recent Gaza war her family was separated, as she sent her husband and three children to stay with relatives outside of the Sderot area, while she remained behind to focus on her work and care for other families. “The rockets were relentless and in the middle of helping people, we had to go with them into the shelter and see them through this time of panic – there are people screaming, while others just freeze from the trauma” says Naomi. Her field of social work focuses on the whole family.

Mayan Givoni, also a social worker, currently cares for 45 teenagers-at-risk participating in both formal therapy and non-formal groups. Playing musical instruments in therapy and counseling sessions is a tool often used to aid in the healing process for these teenagers.

“As social workers, we give so much, and we don’t take time for ourselves. We know that there are people depending on us, calling us and we need to be there. So, this break is what we need to be filled up again, so that we can continue to work” said Mayan.

Jannie commended the social workers for the amazing work they do, saying: “Thank you for standing in the gap and helping the families to cope, as this is a huge burden that you carry on your shoulders. The ICEJ is so happy to bring you to the capital city of Jerusalem, to allow you to recharge and enjoy all the wonderful sights.”

“It was a very hard 11 days, but we will survive and not allow our enemies to win,” responded Yigal. “We thank you and your donors all over the world for giving our social workers the opportunity to come to a hotel to refresh.”

The excitement of being in Jerusalem and having some time out was hugely evident and an applause of gratitude filled the hotel lobby! Among the many activities planned for the group, they thoroughly enjoyed a tasting tour of the Mahane Yehuda food market (the ‘shuk’) and a visit to a chocolate-making factory, while the evenings were fun-filled with singing and music.

Thank you for supporting the work of the ICEJ and helping us to bless those who show so much care and dedication to others, often sacrificing their own needs and that of their families.


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A Jewish Daughter Plants Her French Family’s Roots Back in Israel

In late July, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem helped to sponsor a special charter flight of 160 French Jewish immigrants who came to Israel hoping to start life anew in their ancestral homeland. Among the olim (newcomers) who landed that day from France were working-class Jewish families from crowded neighborhoods in Paris and elsewhere, along with successful doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, and marketing and media professionals. The group also included 46 young people under the age of 18 who will enter the Israeli educational system this fall. After completing their mandatory quarantine, they have gradually begun to settle into their new homes.

France has the world’s third largest Jewish population, after Israel and the United States, with 500,000 Jews still living there. With several high-profile antisemitic incidents in recent years, along with new statistics that show a significant rise in antisemitic attacks, there are growing safety concerns among the Jewish community in France.

Rachel* is a 33-year-old young woman who came out of this tumultuous environment to Israel on the special chartered flight supported by the ICEJ. She shared her Aliyah story and why her decision to move to Israel could not wait any longer.

Rachel has always loved Israel and the desire to make Aliyah was birthed in her heart long ago. However, the thought of her as an only child leaving behind her elderly parents kept her from making a final decision to make the move to Israel. Her mother is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and her father is now in his late 80s. Rachel simply felt that she had to stay by their side all these years. Also, with over 10 years of experience as a poet, singer, actress and theatre company director, she seemed to have a good life in Paris.

Rachel also had dedicated herself both to art and to making the world a better place. As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, it was always important for her to help the vulnerable, and to stand up to injustice. In her early adult life, Rachel was a volunteer helping refugees – such as the Yazidis – find refuge from the crisis they faced in the Middle East.

But in recent years, Rachel increasingly sensed she could no longer remain in France. She felt utterly betrayed by the very culture of liberalism and defending human rights which she had served in such a dedicated way. Due to the rise in violent antisemitism, it became impossible for Rachel to express her Jewish values without fear of becoming an outcast and the target of attacks. She also recalled how her family had always been uprooted and persecuted, and could never find their home in France.

Reaching the decision to make Aliyah was very difficult for Rachel. On the one hand, she would have to come alone, leaving everything behind to completely restart her life from scratch in Israel. On the other hand, Rachel felt that for the first time in generations it was her duty to become the first one from her family to plant roots in Israel. This dream had been passed down from generation to generation in the family and now she could finally make it come true.

Rachel confided that the final encouragement she received was from the Yazidi refugees she was assisting. They told her how lucky and blessed she was, that she had a homeland where she could go. They would give anything to be able to have their own home to go to, yet they had none. “How blessed you are”, they said. These special words of encouragement deeply touched Rachel’s heart.

Now Rachel is enrolled in the Jewish Agency’s ‘Ulpan Etzion Jerusalem’ program – an intensive Hebrew language class which will help provide a softer landing for her in Israel. We pray that Rachel will build the safer life she always dreamed of in Israel.

In these turbulent times, as the Jewish people are facing a new wave of global antisemitism, let us help them return safely to their ancestral homeland of Israel. Please support the ICEJ's ongoing Aliyah efforts, as we continue bring Jews home from the four corners of the earth. 


(*Real name changed for privacy reasons.)

Giving Hope to Israeli Families in Ashdod and Jerusalem

Through our “Giving a Future and a Hope” programs, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem offers practical assistance and a brighter tomorrow to disadvantaged Israeli families through various social projects. In recent weeks, this included being able to help feed hundreds of Israeli households in the Ashdod and Jerusalem areas who have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over recent years, the ICEJ has helped sponsor a food assistance project through Beit Hallel, a help center in Ashdod which assists new immigrants, Holocaust survivors, single mothers, and other disadvantaged citizens of Israel. Since the corona lockdowns began last year, this assistance has become more necessary than ever. Last week, ten of our Jerusalem staff also paid a visit to Ashdod, in southern Israel, to help fill food packages for 300 area households in need.

Jacques, one of the organizers, greeted our team with great anticipation. That day they had only a small group of people to prepare food packages for distribution and were therefore grateful for our ICEJ staff who came to fill the gap and complete the packaging.

"This humanitarian work demonstrates the love which Christians have for the poor and needy here in Israel,” Jaques explained. He added that the help center reaches out to 1250 Israeli families every month, and this is only possible because of friends and supporters like the Christian Embassy.

How wonderful it was to join forces to help those in need! When our team arrived, work was in full swing. It was amazing that our staff could work hand-in-hand with several local volunteers. And how pleasant our surprise when Lydia, another volunteer, shared her story with us.

Lydia made Aliyah two-and-a-half years ago and it was the ICEJ who helped her make the journey home. She was so excited to meet with the ICEJ team and expressed her gratitude to the Christian Embassy for helping in one of the most important steps in her life.

Throughout the entire day, an extraordinary atmosphere of friendship and support reigned. In conclusion, Oleg, the head of the help center, expressed his gratitude.

“Every person who receives this help knows that they have Christian friends all over the world who love them, pray for them and who help them from the bottom of their hearts. Thank you! You are a great blessing and help to us”, he said.

As part of our ‘Giving Hope’ aid program, the ICEJ also recently delivered food packages to thirty struggling Arab families living on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. The community there has been hit hard due to the corona pandemic, which completely stopped tourism to Israel – one of the main financial sources for the Jerusalem Arab community.

Over recent months, a generous invite allowed the ICEJ team to operate elements of our global prayer ministry from the ‘Father’s House’, a house of prayer on the Mount of Olives with an amazing view of the Eastern Gate and Temple Mount. Relationships built in our time there helped to open a door of opportunity for us to lend a helping hand to our Arab neighbors during this difficult time.

Thank you for your generous giving – which allows us to bless the people of Israel in many practical ways. Our “Giving Hope” programs provide needy Israelis with educational and economic empowerment, lift children from broken homes and youths at risk, promote coexistence among all segments of Israeli society, and assist struggling new immigrants and minority communities.

If you want to be a part of offering practical aid and broader opportunities towards a brighter future to Israelis in need, please donate today.


South African Jews Arrive in Israel on ICEJ-Funded Flight

A group of 87 South African Jewish immigrants arrived safely in Israel this week on an emergency Aliyah flight funded by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem at the urgent request of the Jewish Agency. They had accelerated their immigration process to Israel due to the struggling economy, high unemployment, coronavirus lockdowns and recent political unrest in South Africa, which saw widespread looting in recent days following the arrest of a popular former leader on corruption charges.

The group of olim (newcomers) who landed early Wednesday morning were the largest Aliyah flight group from South Africa in over 25 years. They will now spend time in quarantine before starting to settle into their new lives in Israel.

Vivienne Myburgh, National Director for ICEJ-South Africa, had the chance to say farewell to some of her Jewish countrymen before they departed the airport in Cape Town. She spoke with 91 year-old Dr. Hymie Ehrlich just before he boarded the flight to join his son and family, who made Aliyah 33 years ago, and his daughter who arrived in Israel four months ago. Ehrlich shared that he has visited Israel about 40 times throughout his life and that “it has always been a dream” to go and live there. He was born in the Cape area in 1930 and practiced as a doctor until 2020, when at almost 90 years of age he was “instructed” to retire due to the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Danelle and Paul Datnow and their two sons, Benjamin and Jacob, were also on the flight. They had gone to Israel on a holiday in 2017 when Danelle and her husband fell in love with Israel. After talking about making Aliyah for three years, they started the process a few months ago during the lockdown period. They plan to live in Raanana, a beautiful suburb north of Tel Aviv which is popular with South African Jews and where a quarter of the population is made up of immigrant families.

They were all part of a group of 10 immigrants from Cape Town who met up with another 77 coming from Johannesburg, who all rendezvoused in Addis Ababa for the final overnight leg to Ben-Gurion Airport.

Israel offers many programs for new immigrants like these, such as Hebrew language courses and help with all the administrative side of settling into a new life in a new land.

The Christian Embassy is extremely blessed that we were able to respond on such short notice with the finances to make this urgent flight possible for all 87 of these Jewish immigrants making the journey home to Israel from South Africa. And we are expecting many more Jewish immigrants to be coming from South Africa, as well as from Ethiopia, India, Russia, Ukraine, France and even America, among many other lands, in the coming months. Most certainly, the ICEJ will be there to assist them as you enable us by supporting our many Aliyah efforts.

The call of God for the Jews to come home, and the current difficulties in many countries worldwide, is causing many Jewish people around the globe to consider and realize that the time has come to return to their ancient homeland.

“Therefore you are to say, ‘This is what the Lord God says, “I’m going to gather you from among the nations, assembling you from the lands among which you have been dispersed. I’ll give you the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 11: 16-17)

Again, planning is already underway for many more Jewish families to make Aliyah to Israel this year — including large groups from the Bnei Menashe community in India and from the Beta Israel tribes in Ethiopia. Please help us to bring them home to Zion.

ICEJ helps sponsor special Aliyah flight of French Jews

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem helped to sponsor a special charter flight of 160 French Jewish immigrants who landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday hoping to start a new life away from the rising antisemitism in France and elsewhere.

The chartered flight was arranged by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, and was funded by leading Jewish and Christian donor organizations, including the ICEJ, which sponsored seats for 32 of the new arrivals.

ICEJ representatives were on the tarmac to welcome the French olim, along with Israel’s minister of aliyah Pnina Tamano-Shata, MK Yair Golan, Keren HaYesod world chairman Sam Grundwerg, and JAFI’s interm chairman Yaakov Goel, among other dignitaries.

Tamano-Shata, who made aliyah herself from Ethiopia at age three, also accompanied the new immigrants on the flight from Paris after spending several days in the French capital with government officials and Jewish community leaders to assess the current situation for French Jewry.

France is still home to the second largest Jewish community outside of Israel (after the United States), with an estimated 500,000 members. However, another 250,000 have already left the country over the past two decades due to the rising threat of violent antisemitism, especially from radicalized Muslims transplanted from North Africa to crowded neighborhoods in Paris, Marseilles and other large French cities. Some Jewish émigrés have opted to join the growing enclaves of French Jews in Canada, Australia or the US, but a rising number have chosen Israel as a safer location for them, including from the coronavirus threat.

Aliyah from France to Israel has remained fairly strong and stable over recent years despite the corona travel bans, and it is now expected to pick up even more as French Jews see Israel as having better job opportunities and a better record on handling the COVID-19 menace. French Aliyah is up 137 percent in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period last year, while the number of Aliyah applications has quadrupled over the past year.

The Christian Embassy also will be sponsoring Aliyah flights over the next few weeks for about 30 American Jews making the move to Israel. This will bring the total number of Jews brought by the ICEJ on Aliyah flights to Israel this year to over 1,220 from 17 countries, plus another 700 newcomers assisted via pre-Aliyah programs.

Meanwhile, the ICEJ is preparing to fund Aliyah flights for several hundred more Jews in coming months, including large groups expected from Ethiopia and India. But we need your help! So please continue to support the Aliyah efforts of the ICEJ.


Giving Hope to the Struggling Side of the Start-Up Nation

Over recent decades, Israel has gained a well-deserved reputation as the ‘Start-Up Nation’. Israel’s bustling hi-tech industry has seen phenomenal growth due to the innovative spirit driving the business, biomedical, cyber and security sectors. In one of the latest signs of the nation’s hi-tech prowess, Israel now has 65 ‘unicorns’ – defined as privately-held companies valued at over US$1 billion – which is more than all of Europe combined.

Given this remarkable record, it is no wonder that eleven years ago Israel was accepted into the select club of the world’s most developed nations – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Israelis were quite proud of that accomplishment, but they also know that their nation’s true economic picture is not as rosy as it appears.

For instance, Israel has one of the largest income equality gaps between rich and poor of any OECD nation. The hi-tech industry indeed is thriving, but it only accounts for 8% of the work force. For the other 92%, well over half are employed in the nation’s ‘second economy’ – a lagging domestic market of low-paying, low-skilled, often temporary jobs with little growth potential.

Many of those stuck in this shadow economy are from large Arab and ultra-Orthodox Jewish families located in crowded urban neighborhoods. Others live in development towns in the northern and southern periphery of the country. They often do not make enough money to even owe income taxes, which means that the other half of Israel’s work force is bearing the nation’s tax burden.

This was all before the Corona lockdowns drove unemployment rates to over 20% during the past year. At the same time, the political paralysis of four indecisive national elections also froze the annual state budgeting process which would have allowed the government to address these worrisome trends.

And now, the State Comptroller has just assessed that nearly 70% of Israel’s labor force – some 2.7 million workers – must be retrained and reskilled in the next few years to remain employable in the emerging automated economy of the future.

So despite Israel’s economic success, there are still many struggling families in the Start-Up Nation who need our help, and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is working on practical and effective ways to assist them. Through our “Giving a Future and a Hope” program, we are helping disadvantaged Israeli families reach for a brighter future.

The ICEJ has identified several clear, simple ways we can be of great assistance to many poor Israeli families. For starters, we are sponsoring job training and skills development programs for low-income earners who are seeking to keep up with the rest of the nation in a fast-changing world. Various studies have shown this can be accomplished by either “up-skilling” or “re-skilling”.

One of our new initiatives will provide special training in code writing as well as job placement services to 60 Israeli Arabs aspiring to work in the hi-tech arena. Many young Arab professionals are eager to enter the Israeli hi-tech industry, and companies are looking to hire them. But they lag in certain key computer skills largely due to cultural gaps and thus only 3% of Israel’s hi-tech workforce is Arab. By supporting this program, we will be helping Arab hi-tech talents find their place in leading Israeli companies, while also fostering coexistence in Israel.

The ICEJ also has been providing hope and assistance to many Jewish immigrants struggling to adjust to life in Israel. This includes sponsoring a special mentoring program that is helping many distressed immigrant families from Latin America and the former Soviet republics. We also have invested in many Ethiopian Jewish students at all levels of schooling, from supplying computers for needy children in grade school to providing scholarships and stipends for promising young Ethiopian professionals pursuing university degrees.

Another key area of assistance is our efforts to provide computers to children from low-income families. The corona crisis has accelerated the move to remote online learning at home, yet some 20% of Israeli children lack computers and even internet connections in their homes. This has put them at a serious disadvantage compared to their peers. So, the ICEJ will be increasing our recent efforts to provide affordable laptop computers to children from poor Israeli families.

There are many other ways in which the ICEJ’s “Future & Hope” program is impacting the lives of needy Israelis. We are strengthening less-fortunate Israeli families, offering them educational and economic empowerment, lifting children from broken homes and youths at risk, assisting struggling new immigrants and minority communities, and promoting coexistence among all segments of Israeli society.

Through our “Giving Hope” outreach, you can help make a difference for many poor and disadvantaged families in Israel, so that they too can begin to enjoy the promise which this nation holds.

Please respond by giving your best gift today.


ICEJ Sponsoring Front-Line Relief and Aliyah Flights Amid Israel Crisis!

The latest Hamas rocket war against Israel appears to be winding down with a very fragile unwritten ceasefire on Friday, but the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem will continue to reach out with urgent relief efforts to the embattled Israeli front-line communities along the Gaza border area, while also getting ready to sponsor Aliyah flights for dozens of Jewish immigrants expected to arrive next week. This is amazing news – not even this raging conflict was able to stop the Aliyah!

Over recent days, the ICEJ has been pressing ahead with a series of emergency relief efforts aimed primarily at assisting the hardest-hit communities closest to the Gaza border area. This has included the following:

Bomb Shelters: The ICEJ has ordered 15 new portable bomb shelters for front-line towns and villages on the Gaza and northern borders. And thanks to the generous response of Christian donors to our urgent appeal this week, we hope to have funds soon for at least five more bomb shelters.

Protective Vests: We will be delivering 45 new bullet-proof vests to security and first-responder teams in the Gaza periphery, who were already in 24/7 emergency mode over two weeks ago – ever since Palestinian terror militias in Gaza first started dozens of wildfires in their region with incendiary balloons in early May.

Trauma Relief: The Christian Embassy will be working with trauma resilience centers and counselors nearest the Gaza border to help Israeli families with children recover from the harrowing experience of being stuck in bomb shelters amid intense rocket barrages over the past eleven days. Similar stress relief efforts will be provided to dozens of children from recent Jewish immigrant families who have been living in absorption centers under fire.

Social Relief: Working with local social workers, we will be providing food or other basic needs for families in dire need in the worst-hit areas.

In addition – and this is quite remarkable given the intense fighting – the ICEJ will be assisting with Aliyah flights for at least 200 of the hundreds of new Jewish immigrants from more than 20 nations expected to land in Israel over coming days.

We will be covering the flight and other transportation costs for 99 members of the Bnei Menashe community who have been approved to come under an emergency decision of the Israeli government due to the coronavirus surge in India. The decision will allow 548 Bnei Menashe to come as soon as possible, with the first flight of 274 currently scheduled to land on May 31.

Meanwhile, we have committed to helping the Jewish Agency for Israel with flights and other immigration costs for their ‘Aliyah Super Week’ planned for next week, which was amazingly set to go on even with the conflict. JAFI now expects over 400 Jewish immigrants to arrive in Israel next week on flights coming from more than 20 countries, including: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Finland, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.

At present, the ICEJ can sponsor Aliyah flights for at least 100 of these new arrivals, but with your help there is still time for us to commit to more flights. So please consider a generous gift to assist us with the Aliyah Super Week.

Thank you for all you are doing to help us meet these urgent needs during this very difficult period for Israel.

Please, donate towards our Israel in Crisis relief efforts.



Please, donate towards our urgent Aliyah efforts.

ICEJ Helps Launch National Call Center to Serve Holocaust Survivors

This week, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem joined its charitable partners Yad Rosa and Bnai Zion to open the first-of-its-kind National Call Center to serve the urgent needs of Holocaust survivors and other elderly Israelis nationwide.

The National Call Center was dedicated on Tuesday evening in the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa, just two blocks from the ICEJ’s special Home for Holocaust Survivors. The call center was the vision of Shimon Sabag, CEO of Yad Rosa, which he founded last year amid the corona crisis to assist Holocaust survivors forced to isolate in their homes to avoid the virus. The ICEJ has joined with Bnai Zion, an American Jewish charitable organization, to provide the seed funding to help the newly expanded National Call Center operate during its initial years of service.

Over the past year, tens of thousands of elderly Holocaust survivors in Israel have been confined to their homes due to COVID-19. This left many struggling with loneliness and the return of painful memories as Jewish youths trapped in Nazi-occupied Europe.

In response, Yad Rosa opened an emergency call center in Haifa last year to reach out to Holocaust survivors and other elderly in the surrounding area. The center began taking them groceries and hot meals, arranging home repairs, driving survivors to the doctor for medical care and vaccine shots, and sending volunteers on home visits to lift their spirits. Some received walkers or wheelchairs to help them get around. A fleet of scooters also was acquired to ensure rapid responses to those with immediate needs. The crisis center also simply called survivors to check in and let them know someone cared.

The ICEJ joined in supporting this local call center in Haifa earlier this year, and the vision has since grown to providing one central emergency call center to serve the whole nation, with local distribution warehouses to be set up in several large Israeli cities to eventually cover all regions of the country.

Israel has been slowly emerging from the corona lockdowns, but the experience of the last year has shown many of the 165,000 Holocaust survivors still living in Israel have pressing needs regardless of corona. Many tend to be reclusive, and thus a nationwide strategy was needed to ensure they are getting the care and attention they need and deserve. The Yad Rosa national call center will provide an effective means to assist these Holocaust survivors and other struggling elderly citizens in a wide variety of ways.

The new national call center will operate 24 hours around the clock on weekdays, and will be manned by staff and community volunteers from across Israeli society, as well as youth performing their year of national service. These teams will be actively reaching out to scores of Holocaust survivors every day to inquire about their condition and needs, and then work to immediately assist them. For instance, they will help provide medical and rehabilitation equipment, oxygen generators, wheelchairs and walkers, surveillance cameras for continuous assistance, as well as prescribed medications, hot meals and groceries, all free of charge to the Holocaust survivors and other elderly In Israel. The volunteers also will pay home visits, and deliver blankets, appliances and other household items, as needed.

One special feature of the new initiative is a plan to deliver for free a Medical Alert watch to every Holocaust survivor in Israel. This digital watch can monitor the wearer’s vital signs and has an emergency alert button and GPS locator to alert the Yad Rosa teams and other first responders of an urgent need and where to find them.

Another key feature of the national emergency center will be the fleet of scooters to be deployed nationwide which will allow fast responses to those in urgent need of help.

ICEJ vice president & senior spokesman David Parsons was on hand at the dedication ceremony on Tuesday evening to cut the ribbon at the new national calling center, along with Shimon Sabag of Yad Rosa, Rabbi Ari Lamm, the CEO of Bnai Zion, and Israeli-American actress and Haifa native Moran Atias.

Parsons also spoke that evening with Shaked, a 19 year-old volunteer doing her national service at the existing call center for the Haifa area. Shaked described her work as “very interesting and meaningful, to be in direct contact with these elderly people and know you are making a difference in their lives. I also enjoy working with all the volunteers on our team, who give of their time and come from all sectors – both young and old, Jews and non-Jews. It shows how much they all care!”

The new national call center is located just two blocks for the ICEJ’s special assisted living facility for Holocaust survivors in Haifa, which we will continue to operate and even expand in the years to come. But there is still so much more to be done to help these Holocaust survivors live out their last days with dignity and free of concerns on how to make ends meet.

This new national call center provides a timely, effective and comprehensive means to meet the needs of many more worthy Holocaust survivors all across Israel. And we are looking to our Christian friends and supporters worldwide to help us fund this emergency center in the years ahead.

Please extend your hand of compassion to deserving Holocaust survivors in Israel by supporting this nationwide calling center in Haifa. Thank you for caring, and for acting today!


Sheltering beneath the Hodaya Community Center

Hodaya is among the 21 villages situated within the Hof Ashkelon region in southern Israel, which is home to around 20,000 people. At the heart of Hodaya is the Community Center, surrounded by kindergarten playgrounds, sports fields, and synagogues. Both young and old gather there to simply enjoy life together, but sadly this community’s life is often traumatized with rocket onslaughts from nearby Gaza.

The Community Center recently saw a face-lift and now welcomes a variety of activities within its walls, like music and cultural events, theatre plays, sports and exercise classes, and creative handiwork, among others. But one very important aspect of the center was missing – a proper bomb shelter! Situated beneath the community center was an old underground shelter which, until recently, was in very bad shape. The room was totally unusable, dark, and lacked proper ventilation, while the pipes leaked, and the floor was covered with standing water.

Itamar, head of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, saw the potential for this shelter to be refurbished to serve the whole community.

“After the last Gaza crisis, we saw that many places lacked shelters. However, we really value the ability to continue our community life. In a large shelter like this, people can come and sleep there in time of emergency, if they do not have a place of safety at home,” explained Itamar.

When the ICEJ heard about the need to refurbish this dilapidated underground shelter, our immediate response was “YES!” and the work began! Not only can this shelter serve as a place of safety, but it will provide an additional space for community activities. The transformation began right away as the stairway leading to the shelter was retiled, the water drained out, extractor fans and air conditioners installed, the ablution facility renovated, new piping installed, a new electrical box and lighting added, and the walls painted, among other improvements. Much to the delight of the community, the room is now fully functional!

On 2 July, Moshav Hodaya residents warmly hosted ICEJ staff to dedicate the newly refurbished underground shelter. Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for AID and Aliyah, attached the dedication plaque to a wall near the entrance and shared with community members how the renovation of this shelter was made possible through the love and support of German Christians.

“Just as there are those against Israel, there are those who are for Israel,” assured Nicole. “Many Christians love Israel. They pray for you, they demonstrate on your behalf, and they also give generously to support you in many ways. They may live far away, yet when they heard through the ICEJ of the challenges you face along the Gaza border, they chose to give a practical expression to that love.”

Indeed, the dedication plaque will serve as a constant reminder to the Hodaya community of this Christian love and concern.

Amnon Ziv, security chief for Hof Ashkelon, related how this area has under 30 seconds to seek safety when the red-alert siren sounds the alarm of incoming rockets from Gaza.

“Only new houses have shelters, but older houses, which make up about 50% of the community, do not,” Amnon noted. “With 2000 rockets landing over 10 days in this area – the situation was very tough. Now that we have begun, we will be looking to renovate and reclaim other old underground shelters that have fallen out of use. In fact, we’ve already selected the next project!”

He also wanted to express his appreciation for the ICEJ’s help, adding: “I just want to say thank you for all that you do for the region. It is a lot!”

Shlomit, an old-timer on the moshav since 1951, was eager to tell the ICEJ team about the history of the area and proudly shared about her decades as a teacher in the local kindergarten. In fact, looking around with satisfaction, she pointed to the many community leaders she instructed as children.

“I am excited about this renovated shelter,” Shlomit added. “All my grandchildren can come here for activities – it’s going to really do a lot of good.”

During the recent Gaza war, Shlomit did not have it easy. She had to undergo surgery and without a shelter in her home, was left without a safe place to recover.

“The older people also want to get out of the house,” she said. “Even during corona, we came to the community center for different activities.”

Simcha Mizrachi has lived in the area for 45 years, yet for her this recent Gaza war was extremely frightening.

“It was even worse than the Operation Protection Edge war seven years ago,” she explained. “This is because more rockets fell in a shorter period and many of the families in this community do not have shelters. A lot of people had to have treatment for trauma. Some had panic attacks, but you carry on. Now you see the people are happy and are coming back to themselves again. It is very important to get back to a normal life and not to remain in the crisis and stress. That is why we make sure that there are sports and activities, and a reason to get out of the house to feel normal again. We use this center all the time!”

After the Gaza crisis, a ‘medical clown’ made an appearance at the center for activities with the kids to give them some stress relief.

“Now, the shelter downstairs will enable two events to take place here at one time” said Simcha.

For most residents of Moshav Hodaya, this shelter project represented their first personal introduction to the ICEJ. Encouraged by what she heard, Shlomit summed up her feelings when she whispered approvingly to the local rabbi, “Listen, I am very impressed, these are very special people!”

Thank you for your generous giving! Your donations assist in meeting one of life’s basic needs – safety and security – for the vulnerable Israeli communities living near the Gaza border. Please continue to support these efforts.

Bringing Jews Home From All Directions!

Over the first six months of 2021, Israel has welcomed more than 11,000 new Jewish immigrants, marking a rise of 30% in Aliyah compared to the same time period last year. And once again the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has played a major role in this wave of Aliyah by assisting 16% of these olim (newcomers) to reach the Promised Land. We are able to do this amazing work thanks to the generosity of Christians around the world who continually supporting our Aliyah efforts.

So far this year, the Christian Embassy has helped more than 1,800 Jews immigrate to Israel, including our sponsorship of Aliyah flights for 1,164 new arrivals from 17 countries, while funding pre-Aliyah programs for another 700 newcomers from Germany and the Former Soviet Union.

One of the highlights came in early March, when the last Aliyah flight of ‘Operation Rock of Israel’ arrived, bringing the final group of some 2,000 Ethiopian Jewish immigrants involved in this emergency airlift first launched last December. Through this special airlift, the ICEJ has sponsored Aliyah flights for 402 Ethiopian Jews in total so far this year, making their dream of returning to the Jewish homeland come true.

In April, a special evacuation flight arranged by the Jewish Agency for Israel and sponsored by the ICEJ brought a group of 102 Jewish immigrants from Kazakhstan to Israel. Their Aliyah came at a particularly difficult time due to corona-related health rules and travel restrictions which added complications to obtaining visas and permits for flights, so their arrival from Alma Ata was a small miracle, according to one JAFI official.

Despite the recent Gaza conflict, Israel also welcomed a wave of over 500 Jewish immigrants from more than twenty countries during an unprecedented ‘Aliyah Super Week’ at the end of May. The ICEJ was one of the main sponsors of this special week-long effort by funding flights for 148 of these new immigrants, coming from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, France, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States, among other countries.

Due to the surge in coronavirus cases in India, the Israeli cabinet also decided to launch an emergency airlift for 548 members of the Bnei Menashe community in northeast India. Claiming descent from the Israelite tribe of Manasseh, they already had been approved to immigrate to Israel later this year, but plans were quickly put in place to bring half of them earlier. An initial group of 160 Bnei Menashe landed in Israel on May 31st as part of the emergency airlift arranged by the Jewish Agency and Shavei Israel, with the Christian Embassy sponsoring flights for 99 of these olim. Yet unfortunately, 115 members of the group were held back after several dozen tested positive for COVID-19, thereby delaying their homecoming.

It has been a difficult experience as they were all so eager to reach Israel after 27 centuries of exile from their ancestral homeland. But suddenly, they were stopped in transit and placed in quarantine in New Delhi, where they have remained until Israeli and Indian health authorities agree it is safe for them to travel on to Tel Aviv. They had no means to pay the costs of their housing, food and medical care, and thus were totally dependent on the mercy and generosity of others. This was a dilemma we could not ignore, so the ICEJ covered their housing and meals for about one-third of their four-week stay in New Delhi.
Thankfully, after their complete recovery a group of 114 Bnei Menashe finally landed in Israel on June 27th. In total, the ICEJ sponsored flights for 131 out of the 274 Bnei Menashe who were brought to Israel over the past month. The next airlift of another 274 Bnei Menashe is expected in two months.

Thank you for your support of the ICEJ’s many Aliyah efforts, as we are bringing Jews home from all directions, just as the Hebrew prophets foretold (Isaiah 43:5-6). Together, we can help many more Jewish families return to the safety and promise of their biblical homeland!


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